Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Transfer

Unfortunately, most Pre-Child Adults (PCAs) have little appreciation for the far-reaching and long-lasting implications of a ruined nap-time. In the way the moon’s movement around the Earth affects animal migration patterns and ocean tides: a ruined nap-time can destroy the structural balance of a household, dare I say even the fabric of our entire civilization.

As a former PCA myself, I appreciate how these well-meaning and loving people can fail to equate the value of nap time to the sanctity of our nations continuity. But as much as the nap is something for the child, providing health-sustaining rest and rejuvenation, it is the parents who reap the maximum benefits from this most restful institution of family life.  No matter how much you love your child and enjoy their constant company, when you’ve been going straight since 6:30 am: prepping food, cajoling children to eat it, cleaning them up, finding entertaining activities, reading books, watching your 1,000,000th episode of Thomas the Train, changing diapers, cleaning tushies, even the super-parents out there need a well-deserved break.

During my PCA years, I bemoaned the inconvenience of having to work around ridiculous nap schedules while visiting friends with children.”Yadayadayada,” I complained. “Can’t the kid just go without a nap for a day?  Why can’t he just suck it up for an hour so we can order another round of Bloody Mary’s?”  But I didn’t understand the tight rope we walked as the hour of their discontent rang nearer and nearer.  For if I knew of the tantrums, rage, uncoordinated trip & falls and boo-boos that were to come from a loving child off his schedule and suffering from nap deprivation I would have heeded my words, grabbed the check and rushed everyone to the nearest car seat.

Allow me to share with you an example of what I mean: the most tenuous of maneuvers, The Transfer. 

The Transfer of a sleeping child from the car, into the house and then into their bed without waking them is one of the most coveted skills any parent can possess. It doesn’t even rank on the official Scale of Parenting Awesomeness, for it has been deemed by the American Society of Awesome Parents as the premiere ability for any parent to survive the raising of their children.  That means if you can’t change a diaper worth your salt and spoon feed like a wild hyena, by the mere fact that you can save nap time with an above 90% Transfer Success Rate no other parental ability matters.

This all may read like hyperbole to the uninitiated, but I take The Transfer very seriously. Without it, nap time is lost. If you’ll allow me another example, I will attempt to share with you what high regard I hold the The Transfer in my parenting tool box. Imagine, if you will, you are a high class Wall Street Investment Guy who has been courting a client for over a year to get her to invest with you. You’ve taken her to Yankee games, to the Opera, fancy dinners, given presentations, explained about your portfolio, P/E ratios and the security found in mortgage backed securities and derivatives. She has finally decided to close the deal with you, but at the last minute a junior colleague who doesn’t know his mutual funds from his monetary easing…jumps in to take the meeting.  This cannot be allowed to happen! 

From the time the children woke up I had been slowly and painstakingly wearing down their resolve to encourage a long nap.  We played in the sprinkler, walked endlessly up and down the street, tickled, bounced, giggled, danced, and finally I filled them with milk and starchy foods, they fell asleep on the way home in the car and I’ll be damned if a visiting brother-in-law was going to ruin all that hard work! Which brings me to the thesis of my article, Uncle Matthew: I’m sorry for snapping at you for trying to help get Ruthie out of the car yesterday.

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